The International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer is observed on September 16 each year. Designated by the UN General Assembly, this event commemorates the date of the signing of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer in 1987.
The theme for this year is “a healthy atmosphere, the future we want”.
Stratospheric ozone absorbs harmful shortwave ultraviolet (UV) radiations from the sun. But, ozone layer depletion will have serious impacts on human’s health in the form of skin cancers, cataracts etc as a result of higher exposure to UV rays. Ozone layer thinning will also bring adverse impacts on plants and animals.
The ozone layer was discovered in 1913 by French physicists Charles Fabry and Henri Buisson.
Here are five ways to prevent the ozone layer depletion, thereby also protecting our Mother Earth:
Prohibiting the use of Nitrous Oxide
Nitrous oxide is a greenhouse gas that is 300 times stronger than C02. Nitrous oxide affects both the ozone layer and leads to global warming when released into the atmosphere.
Agriculture is the main source of man-made nitrous oxide - mostly by using nitrogen fertilisers. When a framer uses fertilisers to fertilise the soil, tiny bacteria convert nitrogen in the fertilisers into by-product nitrous oxide, which is the most fatal chemical for the ozone layer.
Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and other halogenated ozone depleting substances (ODS) are mainly accountable for man-produced chemical ozone depletion.
Stop using/buying insulating material made up of CFC. Instead opt for dark chipboard cork that has the same function and does not pollute the environment.
Check the freezer and air-conditioning. Make sure that they are clean and function properly to avoid emitting CFC into the atmosphere.
Try to buy a refrigerator or air-conditioning without CFC. Also, avoid using aerosols and sprays made of CFC.
Limit usage of Private Vehicle
Reduce the usage of car as vehicular emissions are a culprit in the weakening of the ozone layer. Taking public transport, using a bicycle or sometimes even walking can be good alternatives and would also limit the usage of individual transportation.
Although pesticides are an easy way to get rid of weed, they are harmful for the ozone layer. Pesticides sprayed on to fields and used to fumigate soil can generate chemicals called volatile organic compounds, which can react with other chemicals forming a pollutant called tropospheric ozone. Pesticide use also accounts for about 6% of total tropospheric ozone levels.
To avoid weed-growth, try adopting natural remedies instead of using pesticides.
Adopting regulation on Space Launches:
While the world is gaining momentum in space explorations, more and more rocket launches are taking place, which is affecting our environment. The exhaust plume released by rocket launches can contain chlorine and nitrogen gases, which cause atmospheric ozone depletion.
Earlier, a study said that by 2050, rocket launches could lead to more ozone destruction than the harm caused due to CFCs, if left unregulated.